MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE
I have had many moments in the bush that have evoked a range of emotions – total joy, excitement and often complete awe. Here’s a quick top three, as each evoked a different feeling.
First, there’s the first time I heard a fully grown male lion let rip, really roar from the depths of his belly, right next to our open safari vehicle. The reverberations could be felt as the vehicle shook and the sound rumbled right through my body – so powerful I will never forget it!
Then, there’s having to chase a hyena out of the kitchen at the family farm. The hyena had wandered in on a hot evening to steal scraps from the bin after our evening braai (barbeque) – I was left with jelly legs, to say the least!
But my favourite experiences in the bush have always been with wild dog – NOTHING gets the blood pumping quite like chasing a pack on a hunt. I’ve been lucky to have been able to do so a few times, but the most special experience was chasing a pack in the Savute, Botswana, and our guide stopping the vehicle abruptly – everyone on board looked very confused, as the pack had locked onto an antelope and they were in full pursuit. The guide pointed to the side of where the pack was running… and there, cowering in the long grass, was a leopard. The cat slowly snuck up the low-hanging branches of a tree as a few of the dogs ran within metres of the predator, who was trying very hard to make himself unseen and unreachable. Fortunately the dogs were fixated on their potential and eventually successful kill, and the leopard, still very alert, exited the area rapidly after the pack had passed by. It was fascinating to see the leopard, listed in the Big Five for a reason, fearful of what I believe are the most efficient and effective killers in the wilderness!